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P1912329: AHDB Research Call -  Improving integrated pest and disease management in tree fruit


On-going development of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies is a major priority area for AHDB given:

  • Potential for crop losses

  • Legislation reducing the availability of approved controls

  • Resistance developing to conventional crop protection products

  • Uncertainty of the consequences of climate change

  • Increasing risk from alien pests and diseases

  • Increasing consumer interest in the provenance of their food and concern about residues on food

It is essential that carefully targeted work is undertaken within an integrated programme so that growers and propagators can control the key pests and diseases of tree fruit crops with minimal environmental impact.

The original AHDB IPM of Tree Fruit Pests and Diseases project (TF 223) ran from 2015 to 2020. This five-year research project aimed to develop strategies to manage key tree fruit diseases and pests, namely: European apple canker, scab, powdery mildew, Monilinia species and bacterial canker affecting stone fruit, codling and tortrix moths including Blastobasis, pear sucker, apple fruit rhynchites weevil, apple sawfly, pear weevils and phytophagous mites.

The new IPM of Tree Fruit pests programme will follow a similar format to that of the previous programme. It will concentrate on the main issues for the tree fruit industry at present and areas which we expect will increase in importance with the loss of key actives whilst keeping abreast of new and invasive pests and diseases.

Purpose/Primary objective

AHDB wishes to commission research to provide information and opportunities to further develop viable integrated management of key pests and diseases of commercial tree fruit crops. Future pesticide withdrawals and ongoing consumer environmental concerns about over reliance on pesticides and residue levels on fruit, must be considered. The focus will be on building resilient integrated programmes which are able to control all the major tree fruit pest species. It is essential the control of an individual pest or disease is not studied alone but takes into consideration the control of other pests and diseases in a crop production system. Control for one pest or disease must not be at the expense of the control of another.

The outputs of the work will provide recommendations to growers on best practice to control the ‘high risk’ pests and diseases with the focus on biological, environmental and cultural approaches. The programme should promote new biological and environmental controls, alongside monitoring, forecasting and prediction techniques.


Work should be relevant to pests and diseases of tree fruit crops in the UK.

The programme should cover:

  • Pome and stone fruit;

  • Research and commercial sites;

  • Relevant controls practised or under development globally;

  • Novel innovations, undeveloped elsewhere;

  • Surveillance for new and invasive pests and diseases.

It is expected that the proposed work should be divided approximately:

  • Two thirds on pests; one third on diseases

  • Two thirds on pome fruit; one third on stone fruit.

Due to on-going research funded elsewhere, work on SWD is not included in this call. Chemical approaches will be covered in SCEPTREplus. The new programme should be built on the current TF 223 IPM for Tree Fruit Pests and Diseases Programme.

Specific objectives

The key targets of the proposed work should cover:

  • New and invasive pests and diseases (essential)

  • European apple canker (essential), woolly apple aphid (essential), early season control of pitting and boring insects e.g. Apple sawlfy, apple blossom weevil, rhynchites weevil, pear sucker, dock sawfly (high priority), forest bug (high priority), fruit tree red spider mite (essential), brown rot (essential), bacterial canker (medium priority)

  • Novel technologies, products and approaches providing good control

  • Reduced levels of chemical residues in produce

The above list is indicative and is not meant to be exhaustive. Contractors should seek to identify additional areas of interest and relevance for inclusion in the programme.

Related information

Table 1. Previously funded AHDB work on tree fruit pests and diseases

This list is not exclusive or exhaustive and includes examples of previous and ongoing AHDB funded work. Other relevant international and national research should be considered.

Project Number


TF 223

IPM of Tree Fruit Pests and Diseases

TF 220

Earwig safe spray programmes for apples and pears

TF 218

Increasing hoverfly populations in apple orchards for control of apple aphids

CP 141

The molecular basis of pathogenicity of Neonectria ditissima

CP 161

Understanding Endophytes to Improve Tree Health

TF 226

Systemic infection and symptom expression of Neonectria ditissima in relation to endophytes conditioned by environmental stresses

TF 227

An evolutionary approach to develop durable disease resistance to bacterial canker of cherry
(New BBSRC LINK Project)

CP 165


CP 132

AHDB Horticulture’s Gap Analysis

These reports and publications are available from the AHDB Horticulture website This list is not exclusive or exhaustive and includes examples of previous and ongoing AHDB funded work. Other relevant international and national research should be considered. Applicants are expected to review the AHDB Horticulture back catalogue and not repeat work which has already been completed.


The following parameters will apply to the call and the subsequent programme:

  • Submissions must address all the pests listed;

  • Submissions may be from single contractors or collaborative consortia;

  • Any questions posed by potential applicants will be published on the AHDB Tenders web page, along with responses;

  • To provide a coherent approach, current work should be integrated into the new programme, wherever possible.


  • Facilitate effective crop protection programmes using new conventional, biological and environmental controls, alongside monitoring, forecasting and prediction techniques;

  • Provide support for the AHDB applications for Extensions of Approval for Minor Use (EAMU).

Additional outputs:

  • To inform best practice,

  • Monthly update reporting on the programme

  • Annual interim and final reports

Budget, duration and collaboration

  • A maximum budget of £200,000 has been allocated for this project, which has a duration of two years. The project will initially be funded for two years with a view to extension beyond this.

  • AHDB reserves the right to consider budget limits and constraints when assessing submissions and may choose not to make an award if submitted ideas prove unaffordable at this time within the context of the wider programme of AHDB work.

  • AHDB may, if it is deemed desirable, request applicants to form a project consortium. A programme management group (PMG) will guide the successful applicant(s) to refine and agree the work programme. The PMG will review progress and agree programme revisions annually in the light of results gained and new challenges which may have arisen.

Completion and submission of the application form

Please refer to the guidance notes for completion of application forms. Applicants should complete the AHDB Research and KE Application Form - Full Proposal Large. Completed forms must be emailed to no later than 12:00 noon on the February 2020

Proposed timings for application and project delivery

Call Published

09 December 2019

Full Proposal submission deadline

12:00 noon on 14 February 2020

There is no Concept or Expressions of Interest phase.

Make an electronic submission to 

Receipt will be the time of receiving email.

Applications reviewed

Submissions will be evaluated internally, then shortlisted applicants will be invited to present at the Tree Fruit Panel meeting on 09 March 2020 for a final decision on funding. Please ensure you are available on this day.

Applicants informed of outcome

13 March 2020

Anticipated start date

01 April 2020

Project duration

Two years (ending 31 March 2022). It is expected the programme will continue after this date.

Questions & Answers

If you have a specific question related to this call, please email As part of the open tender process, AHDB cannot discuss specific project details with you before submitting your proposal. All Questions & Answers will be anonymised and published.

Assessment criteria

Evaluation of submissions

A number of criteria will used to judge the quality of the submissions (value in brackets indicates weight in assessment process)

Project Title:



SECTION 2: THE BUSINESS CASE (3x weighting, total 30 points; PASS THRESHOLD = 15)

Evidence for the project demand including current cost of the problem to industry. Justification for levy funding. Quantification of proposed economic benefits and a realistic cost:benefit proposal. Details for supporting industry sustainability. Environmental benefits appropriately identified and any negative impacts detailed. Details of how the project will solve a supply chain problem and support good decision making. Relevance to AHDB priorities.



Section Score:

Section Total:

SECTION 3: PROJECT OUTCOMES (2x weighting, total 20 points)

Beneficiaries appropriately identified. Approach to deliver industry KE and links to existing AHDB KE activities. Appropriateness and clarity of industry engagement. Timeframe qualified to deliver impact. Clarification over additional activities/resource required to deliver impact. Skills & training opportunities identified. Clear IP exploitation plan where relevant.



Section Score:

Section Total:

SECTION 4: TECHNICAL APPROACH AND WORK PLAN (3x weighting, total 30 points)

Evaluation of current knowledge (appropriate references used) and awareness of other work. Clarity of aims, objectives, work packages and milestone schedule. Originality & innovation. Effective collaboration with commercial companies. Is the approach statistically robust? Feasibility and risk management.



Section Score:

Section Total:


Knowledge and expertise. Quality of past contributions to, and impact on, the topic. Potential to bring added value through current and/or past contributions. Complementarities of expertise of the team.



Section Total:


SECTION 6: PROJECT COSTS (total 10 points)

Are costs reasonable and necessary? Will the total budget be adequate to carry out the proposed activities? For a cross-Sector proposal, is the shared budget appropriate & clearly defined? Added value of co-funding?



Section Total:

Total Points      out of 100

Recommend for Funding     Yes / No

Weightings are set to reflect the importance of specific criteria, any proposal failing to achieve a specified threshold may be rejected. They have been set to ensure appropriate standards are met.

AHDB Scoring Guidelines



Exceptional quality; cutting-edge; highly likely to produce benefits/impact of great importance to the industry; highly innovative; impactful KE activities proposed; applicant is widely recognized in the field with an outstanding record of accomplishment; consortium is strong across all technical areas needed to accomplish the proposed outcomes. Strongly recommend support


Very good    


High quality; potential to make an important contribution; innovative; likely to produce significant benefits/ impact for the industry; impactful KE activities proposed; applicant has a good reputation in the field; consortium appears to have more than adequate expertise across all technical areas required to deliver the proposed outcomes. Strongly recommend support



Interesting; innovative; likely to produce good benefits/impact; good grasp of appropriate KE activities; applicant has a solid reputation in the field; consortium appears to have adequate expertise across all technical areas required to deliver the proposed outcomes. Should be supported



Interesting but little originality; likelihood of making significant impact is small; may require significant additional investment to deliver benefits; applicant/team lacks experience, has not established leadership in the field or demonstrated the potential to make impactful contributions. Support may be considered if strong in other areas



Poor quality; not well planned; lacking expertise; not feasible; unlikely to make an important contribution to fundamental or applied knowledge; unlikely to produce benefits/impact; lacking convincing evidence that the proposing team has sufficient and appropriate expertise to accomplish all of the tasks as outlined in the proposal. Should not be supported


Very poor      

Very poor quality; duplicative of other work; fails to address the issues; no evidence for demand; cannot be judged against the criterion due to missing or incomplete information. Should not be supported